of leading politicians Jayalalita (ex-CM of Tamilnadu) has been
charged with corruption in a land deal case.
Jayalalitha Jayaram, an ex-film actress, is facing trial in a special
court along with close associates.
Ms Jayalalitha was instrumental in bringing down the government of Atal
Behari Vajpayee in April 99, after her AIADMK party withdrew from the BJP-led
Special Judge P Anbazhagan brought charges against Ms Jayalalitha, her
close associate Sasikala and three others.
The charges related to the alleged sale of state government land to
firms owned by Ms Jayalalitha and Ms Sasikala, at a price below market
The former chief minister is already facing charges in three other
corruption cases, all relating to the period in which she held office.
As head of the AIADMK party, Ms Jayalalitha was a powerful member of Mr
Vajpayee's coalition with 18 seats in parliament.
She caused considerable embarrassment for the BJP when she demanded key
cabinet posts for her party members, holding back her letter of support
until her demands were met.
The ruling DMK party in Tamil Nadu, a bitter opponent of the AIADMK,
has set up the special court to speed up the trial process.
A series of investigations against Ms Jayalalitha have been underway
for some time in lower courts.